Players association executive director Michael Weiner visits Orioles camp

March 03, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association, stopped by Orioles spring training camp to the annual MLBPA meeting with players.

After Weiner met with the team, he spoke with reporters on a variety of issues. Here's what he said.

On the investigation into South Florida anti-aging lab Biogenesis:

“We have a process that we’ll engage in. The Commissioner’s office has a process, and the hope is, it’s a joint program, so the hope is if there’s anything that needs to be investigated coming out of that story we do it together.

On whether Biogenesis was one of the hotter topics with Orioles players:

“I wouldn’t say one of the hotter topics. We covered issues related to the joint drug agreement, but we also covered contracts and pensions, the finances of the union and some on-field issues and WBC and 15-15 [even league alignment], I could sort of run the gamut. I wouldn’t say the drug issue got more focus than any of the other issues.”

On whether there should be stiffer penalties for drug offenders:

“There are going to be talks. I don’t know what the result is going to be, but the way that this union [works], every player gets a chance to contribute to whatever the consensus is going to be. Starting this off-season, we had substantial discussion among player leadership about whether the penalty structure we have is right—whether there should be increases—whether there should be a differential penalty for intentional or unintentional users. That dialogue is continuing. We had some dialogue even with the commissioner’s office in the off-season that didn’t lead to any changes, and I suspect that we’ll have those discussions over the course of the year, but it’s going to be a 2014 issue. We’re not going to change the rules of the game in the middle of the season. In a sense, the drug testing season started with spring training.”

On whether it is troubling more MLB players are participating in the WBC:

“I don’t know about troubling. I’d say this. You want the best players to play in the WBC. Having said that, a lot of players have legitmate reasons, injury, competitive situations with their club where they decide not to play. You also have some organizations, this being one, that are very supportive of the event. This organization has multiple countries with players represented from the major league level all the way down to the minor league level. We’d like to see every organization support the WBC this strongly and we’re going to work on that.”

On why baseball has been able to avoid labor strife for nearly since 1994-’95:

“While the lines of communication are good, we still have our issues, and that's OK. Why have we had success over the last almost 20 years? I don't think you can divorce it from the history. We had our fights. I think what's happened is both sides have had a healthy respect for the other. I'm not sure on the ownership side there was the same respect for players and players' convictions at one point, but now, there's a healthy respect from both sides. There's a recognition that not only are the players going to be strong, but the players actually have something to add to the game. We've always recognized that the owners have great ideas, but if we work together to get things like 15-15, expanded players, WBC - just to give a few examples - that we're going to have a better game. So, it's a lot of hard work to maintain a good working relationship and a lot of people on both sides of the aisle have done that, and we hope it continues."

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